|Issue 3 - March 1972|
|A Blueprint For Survival|
most far-seeing revolutionary alternative to our society which is being
proposed at present comes from a body of very famous and respected personalities
who could never be accused of being impetuous or paranoid; except by megalomaniacs
and industrial barons frightened of any challenge to their rule.
I refer to the proposals outlined in the Blueprint for Survival published in the January issue of The Ecologist. A statement of support for the Blueprint has been signed by many scientists and experts including Sir Frank Fraser Darling, Sir Julian Huxley, Peter Scott; experts from departments of zoology, organic chemistry, archaeology, bacteriology, geography, botany, medicine, economics etc etc.
When in 1945 Roosevelt and his advisers had to make a decision of whether or not to use the atom bomb many scientists who had helped to develop the weapon recommended against its use without at least attempting to demonstrate first of all to Japan the destructive potential of the bomb. But the scientists weren't listened to. It seemed that once the project had been started it had gained a momentum of its own. This time it is even more important that we listen to the scientists. We must make our governments listen. The following article is a summary of the Blueprint for Survival. Read it very carefully then try to see a copy of the full document.
The Blueprint is divided into two sections: the first is entitled The need for change; the second Towards the stable society: strategy for change. There are also a number of appendices.
The need for change
It is obvious that with regard to population, stability can only be achieved if we reach the state where only one person is born for each person who dies. If the developed countries achieved this state by the year 2000 and the developing countries by 2040 the world's population will stabilise at 15,500 million (4 times the present world population).
The developed countries with only one third of the world's population are responsible for 80% of the world's total consumption of raw materials. Industrial societies are committed to expanding production (and therefore consumption); very high growth rates occur for the use of particular resources, such as oil.
When we use resources we must return waste; these are the demands man makes on the environment. At present these demands double every 13½ years. Consider it this way: would you sooner receive £1,000 or the sum of 1np doubled 20 times? If you chose to have 1np doubled 20 times you'd receive £5,242.88np. This is the way we are increasing our demands on the earth. It's called exponential growth; RAPE IS TOO GOOD A WORD.
The proper way to control crops is to have the level of unwanted species controlled by those that don't harm crops, but instead we use pesticides which are becoming increasingly expensive and ineffective. Also pesticides are causing very dangerous pollution of the environment. High yield crops may solve immediate problems but ruin long-term productivity.
It is a scientific fact that humans depend for their survival on the continued existence of a great variety of plant and animal species which at first thoughts seem to be of 'no use' to us. We have already killed off many species and threaten many more.
We can't rely on synthetics and substitutes to replace the raw materials we now use because these also require materials.
The developing nations are acquiring the same aspirations as the developed nations, when they can't achieve a Western standard of living all hell will break loose.
Unless we control the situation we can expect unemployment, epidemics, famine, the breakdown of societies and the overthrow of governments - death for our children.
The British Government is hiding its head in the sand. Lord Rothschild's department has stated that they are undertaking "no specific studies on the environment which require an environmentalist or ecologist". This is very alarming, especially when considered together with the recommendation by the same department that control over all scientific research should be transferred to government departments.
Meanwhile all the pressures on the government are to continue the growth of industrial output.
Towards the stable society: strategy for change
Populations must be determined by the carrying capacity of the land, the amount of food the land is able to produce using diversified farming methods. Britain must reduce its population to 30 million. A great many people in the developing worlds are merely existing, unable to live as human beings for sheer lack of food.
Governments must stop immigration. They must publicise the need for population control. Free birth control advice must be available and free access to contraceptives, sterilisation and abortion. Research must be carried out into further means of controlling population, including humane forms of socio-economic restraints if necessary.
The consumer society must end. Products must be made to last, a number of fiscal measures are proposed to these ends. A raw material tax (a tax on water for example). An amortisation tax - short-lived products would be taxed heavily. A power tax; this would cut down the production of pollution and favour the employment of men as opposed to machines. Industrial pollution can also be reduced by stopping the use of synthetic compounds which can only be broken down with difficulty; inevitably this means reducing total consumption.
An integrated control of crops, as opposed to the present chemical control, must be introduced. Integrated control is the combination of biological control, mechanical control, crop-species diversity and the precise use of species specific pesticides.
Inorganic fertilisers must be phased out and be replaced by organic manures. Agriculture must return to the methods of rotation and leys, highly diversified farming practices must be re-adopted. Cities must be decentralised, people must live in small communities surrounded by the farms which supply them. This way sewerage can be returned to the ground.
In order to preserve the diversity of plant and animal species it has been recommended to the UN Human Environment Conference that measures be taken to protect certain areas of wilderness.
The desirability of any new developments, such as reservoirs, airports, nuclear power stations, must be considered from the point of view of their long-term effect on the environment. Economics must be integrated with Ecology.
Decentralisation of government is necessary for four reasons:
The stage of transition from present society to a stable society will require the full support and participation of all members of the communities which go to make up the larger community. These communities would have to be small enough for individuals to feel their opinions could have direct effect.
Farming and industry must be grouped in much smaller producer-consumer units to avoid waste and over-production.
Modern society alienates people from one another and from their environment. Small communities are the only social units which can offer realisation of our human needs and aspirations.
Such a decentralised organisation of population would make minimum demands on the environment. Urban organisation requires a great deal in terms of raw materials and output.
The aim is not to become introverted. As well as establishing communities we require global communication; regional and extra-regional organisation will still be needed.
The transition of industry from a growth economy to a stable economy will have to be phased over a long period. We can't immediately do without export markets.
Public transport must be developed and private transport discouraged. Rail is the most effective form of public transport. Decentralisation will decrease the demand for mobility, there will be less need to travel. Men released from road building can be employed clearing derelict land and restoring railways and canals.
Manpower will be much more in demand, and resources must be conserved, the emphasis will be on quality not quantity - " jobs then given on the basis that work must be provided by the community for the sake of that community's stability and not because one group wishes to profit from another group's labour or capital as the case may be".
The Blueprint ends with a detailed and integrated strategy for achieving aims, illustrated by a diagram showing schematic outline of change measured against a time scale. In applying the programme computers have "an important role to play in demonstrating the consequences throughout social and ecological systems of a great number of changes over a given period of time".
Finally, an extract from a newsletter from Friends of the Earth.
How you can help now
Join Friends of the Earth help us to construct a network of activist cells throughout the country. Write to your local council, your MP and the Department of the Environment asking them to take immediate steps to curb those who are destroying our environment, and to initiate rational environmental education policies Promote social groups and engineer gatherings to discuss the possibilities of recycling centres and transport pools. Get out and get involved! If you think your professional capabilities will be useful, tell us what you can do for us: we shall do the same for you.
If you like use MUTHER GRUMBLE as a contact point for interested people in the north-east. Send us letters, pay us a call. But it is essential that we have people to deal with letters and enquiries. We are really snowed under with work.
The addresses of the Soil Association, the Movement for Survival and Friends of the Earth are printed in Graffiti, page 19.
"The greatest risk to mankind is the growing band of noisy and extreme ecologists and conservationists who want to put a brake on technology and impose hasty bans on scientific products", a leading chemical manufacturer said last night.
Mr David G Hessayon, the managing director of Pan Britannica Industries Ltd told extreme conservationists: "Please play quietly so that we can get on with our work." "For God's sake be careful," he continued, "technology is like a wife: if you criticise it long enough and loud enough then it must surely leave you."
(reprinted from the Guardian)